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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 13, 2010 at 12:21 AM

Stanford post-game analysis

MBA over zimmerman.JPG
A Washington assistant walked past press row after the Huskies’ 79-64 win over Stanford and asked a simple question.
“We’re in, right?”
“In,” I said.
“You sure?”
“I’m sure. You’re in,” I replied.
Still the Huskies aren’t taking any chances. The school will only host a Selection Sunday viewing party that would be open to the public at the Don James Center if the Huskies beat California tomorrow at 3 p.m. to win the Pac-10 Conference Tournament title and secure the automatic tournament berth.
If UW loses, then they’ll gather privately around TVs on Sunday like everyone else and watch and see what happens.
In my opinion, everything broke just right for the Huskies on Friday. Before their game, Cal knocked off UCLA, which threatened to steal the automatic berth and bump UW on the bubble.

Photo credit: Getty Images – Stephen Dunn

And when the Bruins lost, the Huskies knew their path to the tournament had been cleared of one major obstacle. All that remained was beating Stanford and quite frankly, the outcome was never seriously in doubt.
Washington led from the tip off to the finish and overcame a ragged first half when it shot 28.6 percent from the field (8 of 28). Despite the poor offensive display early in the game, UW was phenomenal on the defensive end where it held Stanford to 19 points and 29.2 percent shooting (7 of 24) in the first half.
The early play was sloppy and difficult to watch, but the Huskies had established a fast-pace tempo and Stanford simply couldn’t sustain the pace after the break. Washington led by as much as 23 points (65-42) and right around that point one of the Huskies fans asked me if the Pac-10 was going to play the ‘Dancin’ Dawgs’ video.
I was thinking the same thing and I found myself instinctively looking for sophomore reserve Brendan Sherrer, who is back in Seattle recovering from an infection.
It’s difficult to single out one player tonight because it felt like a team win. So if we’re handing out game balls (Do they do that in basketball?) let’s give it to the coaching staff.
The game plan was simple and effective: Push the ball. The Huskies attacked at every opportunity. They missed a lot of shots early, but on the sideline the coaches kept encouraging Washington to push. Raphael Chillious screams the loudest so his voice was often heard over the din at Staples Center.
Pushing the ball is a tactic that’s worked in the previous five games and it was the right scheme again as UW won its sixth straight against Stanford.
MORE OBSERVATIONS:


Quincy Pondexter admitted that he’s still not fully recovered from a cold or flu that’s sapped his strength and made him feel just crummy. It looked as if he was still not himself early in the game when he missed a couple of layups.
But Pondexter turned it on in the second half and finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds.
— A day after taking a career-high 12 three-pointers, Isaiah Thomas attempted just nine shots and made four for 17 points. He was also 7 of 7 from the line. And he snagged four rebounds, dished out two assists and didn’t have a turnover.
Thomas’ biggest contribution was on the defensive end where he was primarily responsible for holding Jeremy Green to seven points on 2-for-14 shooting.
Justin Holiday had the toughest job: containing Pac-10 scoring leader Landry Fields. The Stanford star had 14 rebounds and 20 points, which is only two shy of his average, but many of those points were scored when Holiday was on the bench.
Holiday made Fields work when he was on him. And Holiday seems to come alive in these types of games. He had 11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, a steal, an assist and no turnovers.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning pulled down 11 rebound and finished with double-digit rebounding for the fourth time in the past five games. He also had the game’s biggest plays.
Bryan-Amaning blocked a Jarrett Mann shot and redirected it over the UW bench and into press row. He also had an ESPN Top 10 worthy dunk over Andrew Zimmerman (above) late in the game that brought the crowd to its feet.
— If Venoy Overton would eliminate the turnovers, he would be one of the most dangerous players in the Pac-10. He’s turnover prone – tonight he had four – but coach Lorenzo Romar has to live with the occasional miscues because Overton changes the game defensively.
Tonight he made life miserable for Da’Veed Dildy, who had two personal fouls while trying to protect the ball from Overton. Overton also forced a five-second penalty and many of his seven missed shots created putback opportunities for teammates.
Overton had seven points, four assists and three rebounds.
Darnell Gant reminded Husky fans of his explosiveness and athleticism when he hammered in a couple of spectacular dunks late in the game. He also still has a smooth jumper and nailed one of his trademark mid-range baseline shots.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
— Washington makes its fourth conference tournament title appearance tomorrow. The Huskies are 1-2 in previous games. They lost to No. 1 UCLA 76-64 in 1987. They lost to No. 1 Stanford 77-66 in 2004 and beat No. 1 Arizona 81-72 in 2005.
— Pondexter has 82 career games in double figures, which is tied for third with Todd MacCullough on UW’s career charts.
(Romar on playing Cal): “Huge opponent we’re going against. Cal right now is playing like a machine. … We have to play at a high level in order to compete with them tomorrow.”
(Pondexter on playing Cal): “It’s going to be a tough battle with the last two (regular season) Pac-10 champions for the Pac-10 championship. It’s going to be a lot of of fun out there.”

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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